One Blood – Don’t Let Racism Divide. Biblical View Of Race With Pastor Jeff Klingenberg. The WallBuilders team interviews Pastor Jeff Klingberg about his views on racism and the importance of not letting it divide us. Pastor Jeff Klingberg specifically talks about how racism should not characterize us as Christians, some things we can do to help fight and guard against it, and also shares some valuable lessons his father taught him on the subject.
Air Date: 11/20/2017
Guests: Pastor Jeff Klingenberg, David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith And The Culture
You’ve found your way to the intersection of faith and the culture, thanks for joining us here on WallBuilders Live! Where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, all of it from a Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.
We’re here with David Barton. He’s America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Also, Tim Barton, national speaker, pastor, and president of WallBuilders. And my name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas state legislator, national speaker, and author.
You can find out more about us and the program at our websites – WallBuilders.com and also WallBuildersLive.com.
Talking about hot topics in the culture right now, David, Tim, obviously a lot of discussions going on right now in the country about race. About just a lot of conflict that’s happening, whether it’s the NFL thing, or whatever you want to bring up it’s all over the place.
You know, it’s an interesting thing because so much of our problems with race come from not having a Biblical worldview and the Bible says about that and particularly as we watch what’s happening now. We’ve had George Barna on recently and we know that only 10 percent of Christians, professing Christians, actually have a Biblical worldview. Only 4 percent of millennials. So what’s happening is the more secular we become the more race-conscious we become.
And I’m really struck — I’m doing a book right now for *Regnery and one of the chapters is on racism. In looking back into the Bible the word ethnos is the word used in the Bible. We call it race, but actually, it’s used 160 times in the New Testament. The Hebrew equivalent is there, and in the Hebrew, the word ethnos is broken into two groups. There’s only two gnosis – those that know God and those that don’t know God.
And when you get in the New Testament it means those that are not Jews, again those that are not God’s people. So pretty much in the Bible ethnos is two races – those that know God and those that don’t know God – and past that, there is no consciousness of color or creed or anything else.
Which, by the way, is really how Jesus broke it down too when He talks about the Kingdom of God. But He lays it out and says that one day they will be divided – the sheep in the goats. And the sheep and the goats, now, I mean, we know sheep look like. We know what goats look like, but ultimately, they were divided based on their behavior. It wasn’t based on their ethnicity.
Or their race, or their sexual orientation. No, no – it was based on the things they did and didn’t do. And this is where, ultimately, as-as we look at culture around us we get so caught up in things and, you know, Rick, as we’re mentioning the racism in the NFL and the kneeling, We’ve talked about Francis Scott Key and the national anthem and there so many of these things and it becomes so politicized. But that as you mentioned that George Barna talks about what we ought to be doing is thinking Biblical worldview, but too few Christians can go and say, “Wait a second, what does the Bible actually say about this?” And–
Well, just take a simple one like 1 Samuel 16:7 when they’re looking for a king and God says, “You guys get it all wrong. You look on the outside. I look on the inside.”
And that’s what racism is, is looking on the outside instead of looking on the inside. Because if you look on the inside, we’re created in God’s image. We know from Revelation 7:9 that at the last day gathered around His throne are people from all tribes, all nations, all groups, all whatever, it’s know God and don’t know God. I mean, it’s really, really simple stuff, but there are not that many people that are actually addressing that from a Biblical viewpoint.
Well, and even as we say not addressing it. Really we could talk about culture and say culture is not doing a very good job with it. But the reason they’re not is, as you’re mentioning, not many people are addressing this. We don’t have many of our spiritual leaders that are saying, “Wait a second guys, here is what the Bible says.”
As we talk about American history so often we can go back and look at the early pastors and as we mentioned, the British would call them the black-robed regiment. But the pastors were the ones who were credited or blamed by the British for so much of what happened during the Revolution because the pastors kept stirring their people up to action, but the pastors were the ones taking the Bible saying, “Guys, this is what’s happening in culture and here’s what the word of God says.” Pastors literally were shaping the American colonies because they were addressing issues from a Biblical perspective.
Shape America From A Biblical Perspective
And that’s what stirred them to action. They just simply said, “Here’s what the Bible says on this issue.” Oh, well if that’s what the Bible says, I know what I need to do now. And the stir to action wasn’t “Let’s go hurt somebody.” I think Biblically, and once you knew what the Bible said, then you knew what your course of action was supposed to be. And that’s how they stirred them up was by very practical preaching that hit very practical issues that were in the news right then.
Well, guys, I was on the road this last week and as I was driving back from a conference. I have a good friend who’s a senior pastor of a local church and I was listening to the podcast and the title caught me because he was talking about racism. And I thought, “Now wait a second. I’m really curious how we’re going to handle this issue because we’ve seen so many Christian leaders that have made an appeal to be socially accepted instead of Biblically correct and Biblically relevant.”
As George Barna points out, so many pastors now don’t even believe in the entirety of the Bible. And so when there was this pastor — it’s Pastor Jeff Klingberg from High Ridge — but as I was looking at the podcast I thought, “Okay, I’m really interested, how he’s going to cover this.” And as I listened to the sermon, I thought, “This is one of the best sermons I’ve ever heard dealing with the issue of racism about how a Christian should think about this, and how we should respond, and just laying it out Biblically.”
And obviously, if you’re laying it out Biblically and then certainly as a believer of the Bible, I’m going to be much more on board with where you are going with this. But as he was doing it, I thought, this is what’s missing in culture. We don’t have enough pastors that are saying, “Hey, here’s something we’re struggling within culture. Let’s make sure we know what the Bible says. Let’s make sure we have that Biblical approach, the Biblical response.” And if we had more pastors laying out and giving us the Biblical response and answers, it would sure solve a lot of problems we’re dealing with in our culture.
So much like the pastors in the Founding Era, and frankly, the first 150 years in the country, they were looking at whatever was happening in the culture saying, “Hey, we need Biblical guidance on this. What does God say about how we should be acting in the culture?” Getting that guidance and then the pastor shared it with the flock and the flock truly could be salt and light. We need more of that.
We really do and that’s why, guys, when I heard the sermon, I immediately e-mailed and said: “Okay, we’ve got to get Pastor Jeff on the show to talk about this to help give that Biblical perspective.” Because you have a lot of Christians who want to do the right thing and their hearts are in the right place, but they need that spiritual direction where a pastor and say, “Okay, let’s just make sure we know what the Bible says. Let’s make sure we know what the response is.”
And so Pastor Jeff Klingberg is going to be our guest coming up after the break. Stay with us. You do not want to miss what he’s going to say coming up right after this break.
We’ll be right back on WallBuilders Live.
Moment From American History
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. Many today assert that religion is something private, that has no place in the public square, and that it is incompatible with government.
The Founding Fathers believed exactly the opposite. They held that religion was absolutely necessary in order to maintain our free system of government. For example, John Adams declared, “We have no government armed with power, capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.”
And signer of the Declaration, Benjamin Rush, similarly affirmed, “Without religion, there can be no virtue and without virtue there can be no liberty and liberty is the object and life of all Republican governments.” The Founding Fathers understood that limited government required public morality from the people. And that public morality was produced by the Christian religion. For more information about the Founding Fathers views on religion in public life go to WallBuilders.com.
Welcome back, thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. As Tim said, we’ve got Pastor Jeff Klingberg with us from High Ridge Church in Fort Worth, Texas. Pastor Jeff, thanks for joining us.
Good to be on. God bless.
Alright, now you’re on the spot because, man,.Tim really built you up. So you’re stuck–
With Tim Barton telling us how great your sermon was. Now you got to bring that to life right here on the air. And then we’re going to send everybody to the podcast. So you got to see if you’re better than the podcast.
Well, the Holy Spirit stirred me up recently that we’ve got to have more of the word of God teaching Christians how to respond to this topic that the world is lying to us on.
The world’s telling us that we should be divided. And we shouldn’t be – not in the body of Christ. There should be no division between us. Galatians makes it clear. David, you were mentioning earlier about ethnos and about, really about racism and prejudice that is what the issue is. And it was going on in the New Testament church back in the time when Paul was going to cities and he wouldn’t have anything of it. He would not stand for it.
And in Galatians chapter 3 he makes that really clear and this is the verse that I build my belief system on Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
And that’s the third time in three verses that he uses all. So he’s really wanting to make the point that we’re family. We’re all together, as Christians we should not be divided according to external things according to what is seen on the outside. And I just wanted to bring that point home. I wanted to help the spiritual family at High Ridge and those that watch and listen to us online to just have some scriptures to counter the lies and the nonsense, the craziness, that’s coming from our world.
And unfortunately, many “Christians” are embracing it. Many “pastors” are afraid to speak to it. And it’s getting way, way, out of hand.
Now, Jeff, you’re making it clear, too, it’s not a new thing. Right? Nothing new under the sun. I mean, Paul was dealing with the same thing.
Pastor Jeff Klingberg:
We’re dealing with now.
It’s been around for forever and as long as we have an enemy that wants to try to divide, he’s going to find anything he can to divide us on. And we as faith, we as people of faith, should make the determination that that’s not going to happen. So we’re going to stand up and resist it.
Pastor Jeff, one of the things that I was so impressed with your sermon is you were laying out so many attitudes that are prevalent in culture that simply aren’t Biblical.
Make Sure Our Attitudes Are Biblical
That we got to make sure we don’t fall into the trap of some of these attitudes, but would you mind covering that on air for us?
Pastor Jeff Klingberg:
Sure, I’ll cover it.
First attitude we should not embrace and not allow is a racist attitude. And the whole premise of racism is hatred. If you’re going to be a racist, then that means that you’re going to have to hate people that are created in God’s image and that should not be a part of your thinking or of your life. In 2 Chronicles, it says there should be no unrighteousness or partiality or the taking of a bribe.
James mentions partiality as well – it shouldn’t be something that we allow. We shouldn’t allow because what happens is when partiality comes in and we begin to distinguish and begin to think ill of someone of a different skin pigmentation or hair texture, then the enemy will just take it all the way to a place of sin. You’ve got to start at the very beginning and cut it off and not allow partiality, not allow unrighteous thinking, to take hold in your life.
Second attitude that we’ve got to get rid of is being prejudice. Being a bigot. And this would be, you know, you’d say, “Well, I don’t hate anybody.” But yet you laugh at the jokes that are told, and you laugh at the playing that’s spoken. Then you don’t bring any correction at all when it happens. So it seems like you’re okay with it. And that should never be in the heart of someone that calls himself a Christ follower. Shouldn’t be there. We should resist that.
You’re saying silence when it’s happening is basically adhering to it and giving it at least the appearance that you’re okay with it.
Yeah, and I’ve heard stuff before. I’ll hear a joke start and it’ll be against brown color or black color and I’ll say, I’ll just interject, “You know, I’ve got some great friends that are black men and they really love God.”
And it cuts it off. It just silences it. A lot of time, this happens in family settings. You know, when you’re with family or extended family and not that you want to cause a family fight when you’re with your family, but not laughing and not participating is a way that you can resist the prejudice and bigotry. Aren’t you guys glad that the early church was a mixed group of people – that it wasn’t just one skin color, making it seem like that God only wanted to bless one type of pigmentation? I’m glad that wasn’t.
I really am because we would have been on the outside looking in had it only been one pigmentation.
Pastor Jeff Klingberg:
That’s right. That’s right.
Because it wasn’t the white people that were chosen first.
Day of Pentecost
I love even the Day of Pentecost. They had people there from all languages, all nations, all groups.
And that’s where the New Testament church got started was not with one group, it got started with all groups simultaneously at the same point.
Pastor Jeff Klingberg:
Yes, when the Holy Spirit was poured out there at the Festival of Pentecost.
Hey, guys, real quick, there’s one group we’ve got to give a chance here. We’ve got to take a quick break. So stay with us we’ll be right back. Pastor Jeff Klingberg, our guest today from High Ridge Church.
Website, by the way, highridgechurch.com and you can get that very sermon that Tim is talking about. We’ll have a link today for you to be able to hear the whole thing. Stay with us. We’ll be right back on WallBuilders Live.
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Welcome back, thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. Pastor Jeff Klingberg, our guest today. Pastor Jeff, I started to cut you off there for the break. You were going to your third point.
Uncomfortable With Other Ethnic Groups
Yes. The third thing that should not be in the heart of a Christian, the one who really knows Christ, has been born again, would be to avoid or to be uncomfortable with other ethnic groups, with people of other color. I’m so thankful that the church in Antioch wasn’t that way. I mean, when you read in Acts Chapter 13, this church, the five leaders in this church, were of three different ethnic backgrounds. There were three races, if you will, but I believe there’s just one race – the human race.
I think there are many ethnicities, but just one race – the human race. God has never created a person He didn’t love. He loves every single person that has ever walked this planet. But quite often, what the enemy gets us to do is to avoid each other, to be uncomfortable with each other. But in Antioch, the church in–
Wait a minute, you said there were three ethnicities. What were the three ethnicities in Antioch and the leaders there?
Pastor Jeff Klingberg:
Well, in Antioch, there were two Jewish men – Paul and Barnabas. There were two African men – Simeon from Niger. The ancient word for Niger means black. There’s a country that’s still called that in Africa today. They are proud to be black and they named their country that. And then Lucias of Sirene – Sirene is also in Africa. Can’t remember if it’s Egypt or Libya. So those are the two black men.
And then you’ve got *Mandaean who was brought up with Herod the Tetrarch. He’s a European guy. He was raised in Italy. He’s from Rome. So you got one white guy, *Mandaean, and two middle eastern guys, Paul and Barnabas, and two black guys from Africa, Simeon and Lucius.
Now that’s interesting because that’s your church castle and the Bible says it’s in Antioch where they were first called Christians. You know, seems to all go together. I mean, if you can get along like that, then maybe you really are the John 17 thing of, “If you’re my disciples you love one another.” And that’s where you look like a Christian.
Yes. You know it was that church that evangelized up into Europe, which crossed over into England, which made it to America. We have a lot to be thankful for that that church didn’t avoid each other, and didn’t split, and didn’t fuss because of having different skin colors. Because they chose to pursue unity and to bless each other, we have a lot to be thankful for. And I think it would behoove us to do the same thing as Christians in America.
Pastor Jeff Klingberg:
The fourth attitude that we’ve got to get rid of. This is the most common I think, is being apathetic, not caring. So there are many people who say, “I don’t hate anybody.” Okay, well great, then you’re not a racist. So I don’t participate in the put downs then great, you’re probably not a bigot and I don’t avoid. You know, it’s just I would rather not have to if I’m not forced to. And so we don’t care. We have an apathetic attitude.
The Bible tells us to abstain from every form of evil and not caring about people that God loves becomes evil in our hearts. I mean, I put this before my congregation – when was the last time you watched the news? And David, and Tim, and Rick, I would never encourage anybody to watch the news.
They can listen to the news on WallBuilders Live. But don’t go watch the news, right?
That’s good, that’s good. But when was the last time you wept? When was the last time that someone of a different ethnicity lost their life and it was completely unrighteous and it moved you because you have compassion? You care, and you don’t want that family to suffer through that heartache, and you don’t want that whole situation to be used and to move around the United States and cause division and hatred that the church will stand by and watch. And even, to a degree, sometimes embrace.
Part of it goes back to being apathetic – the fourth attitude that we’ve got to get rid of. We’ve got to care. We care as we pray, we care as we love. We’ve got to care for people that are not the same as us and this crosses ethnic lines.
Blacks should care for browns, browns for reds, reds for yellows, yellows for whites, and all the rest of us who, as the children’s song goes, are all precious in His sight. We should care for each other.
All Are Precious In His Sight
That would be the fourth attitude I would say we need to get rid of, is being apathetic and not caring.
And then what would be your challenge if we want to avoid those attitudes? Now on Sunday, I thought it was incredible you said, “Well here’s what you really need to focus on.” And not just “Don’t do the wrong.” But what is the good we’re supposed to walk in as Christians?
Pastor Jeff Klingberg:
So here are two attitudes I would propose that we should all possess.
The first one is to be a reconciler. We’ve been given the word and ministry of reconciliation. We should have a desire to help everybody we possibly can meet Jesus. He’s the only way for salvation. He’s the only one who can pay for the sins and the wrongs that we have done, He’s the only one who can take those away.
And we should have in our heart to practice the great commandment which is to make disciples of all nations, which is ethnos, all ethnic groups. So we should want to reconcile people to Christ. I strike up conversations with brown people, black people, yellow people, at the health club for the purpose of trying to get a conversation going where I can find out what their faith background is and maybe be used by the Holy Spirit to help them meet the Lord and experience a transformation of salvation in their lives.
You know many people, I’ve heard this said before, “Well, we just all need to be color-blind.” Well, we can’t be color-blind. Unless you have a disorder in your eyes, in you, you see color and so it’s not trying to be color-blind. Not trying to get yourself to ignore that they’re different than you.
Here’s what I would propose. We need to be color-blessed where we want everybody, those that are of our color, and those that are of other colors, to be blessed by Almighty God. And I think that helps us to reconcile.
Lover Of All People
Then the second thing that we should embrace, and this fulfills the great commandment, and that’s to be a lover of all people. I like the way John put it he said, “By this, all will know that you are My disciples if you have a love for one another.”
And, you know, when you just make the determination that you’re going to love first, you’re not going to be suspicious first, you’re not going to pay for hate first, you’re not going to avoid first, you’re going to find some way to try to love first. You’re going to give a pleasant expression, you’re going to offer a greeting, some something to where the tension that could be there because of the enemy trying to work that division between two people that are of different color.
The one who knows the Lord can break that down immediately by showing love, by speaking love, by having the basic nature of kindness that our Lord operated with and it goes a long way.
You know I was taught this by my parents, by my dad. My dad would have nothing to do with racism in our house. He fought in the Korean War and talked about one time being in battle with the South Korean man in the foxhole with him and a black man from Alabama in the foxhole with him. And he said this, he said, “You know, Jeff, when you’re shooting the same direction as they are you don’t care what color their skin is. You just hope they’re a good shot.”
Pastor Jeff Klingberg:
That solved the issue for my dad. Grew up in an all-white town in Southern Illinois. Went to the Korean War and realized racism doesn’t belong here because we’ve got to save each other’s lives. It would help the church to kind of take on some of that mindset.
We’re shooting the same direction. We want the kingdom of darkness to be pushed back, shot full of holes. We shouldn’t do anything to add strength to the kingdom of darkness. And so I just would propose to you that parents need to step it up. Parents need to help their kids understand the importance of not embracing racism.
Tim, do you remember the story I started within that message about the first time I met someone of — because in my hometown there wasn’t red, yellow, or brown, in my hometown. There was just black and white.
I was born and raised in Decatur, Illinois and I had seen black people on TV before, but I’ve never seen one in person. We just lived in two different parts of town. Ad the two parts of town really didn’t ever cross paths. But then the school system decided that segregation was not succeeding and we needed integrated education. And they decided to send buses into the inner city, and pick the kids up, and bring the, out to other parts of the city, and bring them to our schools. And man, the tension was thick. I mean, it was palpable. You could sense it in our city.
All of that summer before the year the busing started. It was my fifth-grade year. I was 10 years old.
The night before, my dad sat me down and said, “Jeff, look. Those kids are going to be just as afraid as you are. Think about it. They’re being forced to ride on a bus all the way across town that they’ve never been on before and they got to get off in a white neighborhood. They’re going to be just as afraid as you are. You go make a friend. You make the determination to be their friend.”
So I thought, okay, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll make a friend first thing in the morning. Sure enough, the buses pull in, the black kids get off. They’re petrified. We’re petrified. First time I’d seen a black person in person, and I just walked up to the biggest strongest most muscular one. His name was Lawrence. I just walked up and said, “My name is Jeff, what’s your name?”
He said, “My name is Lawrence. What’s wrong with your head?” Back in the day we wore a burr haircut about a quarter of an inch tall.
My dad had clippers in the cabinet. Once a month, we sat on a little stool with them and he took those shears and sheared me and my brother and we wore that little burr. And he’d not seen them before.
“What’s wrong with your head?” And I said, “Nothing.” And we just kind of looked at each other and stared at each other and I said, “Lawrence, can I feel your head?” He said, “Why?” And I said, “What is that? I don’t know what that is?”
He said, “That’s an afro.” I said, “Well, I can feel it?” He said, “Well, if I can feel your head.” So I said, “Okay.”
And so I reached up and just, I just had to feel it. You know, we’re friends you know. We’re becoming friends. The tension is starting to diminish. And I just reached up and felt his afro. And just let a handprint in his afro and he reached over and put his hand on my head and went “Oh! Oh!”
Kind of the spiky burr haircut that kind of moved just a little bit. For everyone that had a burr haircut, you know what I’m talking about. You put your hands on it and it just kind of move a little bit when you slide your hand back and forth. So he yells, “Hey bros, get over here. I’m feeling this new head.”
Well, I just stood there while all the black kids formed a line and walked down and shined my head for about five minutes.
So the council of my father was, “They’re going to be afraid just like you, but you be their friend.” And I made the determination just to walk up. Could have been rejected, could have gotten the snot beat out of me. But I just walked up and said, “My name is Jeff. What’s yours?” And it broke through.
Pastor Jeff Klingberg:
And I’m so thankful, so thankful, my father taught me that. And, man, we should have more of that in some way or another. More of that in the body of Christ. So we don’t immediately allow a division to come in.
Don’t Let Racism Divide
Amen, amen. So many good lessons, Jeff. Man, we appreciate your time, appreciate you coming on. Full sermon is available at HighRidgeChurch.com. And then we have a link directly to that sermon on our website today at WallBuildersLive.com. Pastor Jeff, appreciate you coming on, man. Let’s get you back.
God bless you guys. I love you. You’re doing great work. Keep up the good work.
Thanks for listening, folks. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.